Converse College

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Converse College
Established 1889
Type Women's Undergraduate College. Co-Ed Graduate Programs
Endowment $68.29 million[1]
President Elizabeth A. Fleming
Students 1,938
Undergraduates 800
Postgraduates 1,165
Location Spartanburg, South Carolina, USA
34°57′16.59″N 81°55′01.51″W / 34.9546083°N 81.9170861°W / 34.9546083; -81.9170861
Campus Urban
70 acres (0.3 km2)
Colors Purple and Gold
Sports Basketball, Soccer, Cross Country, Tennis, Volleyball, Swimming, Lacrosse, Equestrian, Golf, Track & Field
Mascot Valkyries
Affiliations Conference Carolinas

Converse College is a liberal arts women's college in Spartanburg, South Carolina, USA. It was established by a group of Spartanburg citizens and named after textile pioneer Dexter Edgar Converse.


Converse College Historic District
Wilson Hall at Converse College.jpg
Location 580 E. Main St., Spartanburg, South Carolina
Area 20 acres (8.1 ha)
Built 1891 (1891)-1915
Architect Hook, Charles
Architectural style Late Gothic Revival, Romanesque, Richardson Romanesque
Governing body Private
NRHP Reference # 75001706[2]
Added to NRHP November 12, 1975

Converse College opened on October 1, 1889 with a student body of 168 and 16 faculty members. The College operated as a "stock company" with the board of directors composed entirely of citizens of Spartanburg. Dexter Edgar Converse, a native of Vermont who had settled in Spartanburg before the American Civil War and had become a successful pioneer in the cotton mill industry, served as the head of the first board of directors. On January 2, 1892 fire destroyed the College's main building. The building was enlarged during its reconstruction. In 1896, the College was incorporated in South Carolina and a self-perpetuating board of trustees was named. In 1964, the College introduced graduate programs.

The Converse College Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975.[2] It encompasses eight contributing buildings dated between 1891 and 1915. They are the Main Building (1892), Annex (Pell Hall, 1891), Twichell Auditorium (1898-1899), Carnegie Library (1905), Cleveland House (c. 1905), Judd Science Hall (1915), Dexter Hall (1899), and Towne House (1898). The buildings are representative of the Romanesque Revival, Gothic Revival, and Neo-Classical styles.[3][4]


It has an undergraduate enrollment of approximately 800 women who come from throughout the United States. The graduate enrollment of approximately 1,200 students is made up of both men and women.


  • Art and Design
  • Biology, Chemistry, and Physics
  • Economics, Accounting, and Business
  • Education
  • English/Creative and Professional Writing
  • Languages, Cultures, and Literature
  • Health and Physical Education
  • History and Politics
  • Mathematics and Computer Science
  • Psychology
  • Religion and Philosophy
  • Theatre and Dance
  • Music


Converse College teams participate as a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association's Division II. The Valkyries are a member of the Conference Carolinas. Women's sports include basketball, cross country, equestrian, lacrosse, soccer, track and field, golf, tennis, swimming and volleyball.


Name Years served
Benjamin F. Wilson 1890–1902
Robert Paine Pell 1902–1932
Edward Moseley Gwathmey 1933–1955
Oliver Cromwell Carmichael, Jr. 1956–1960
Robert T. Coleman, Jr. 1961–1989
Ellen Wood Hall 1989–1993
Sandra C. Thomas 1994–1998
Nancy Oliver Gray 1999–2005
Elizabeth A. Fleming 2006—


  1. ^ As of June 30, 2013. "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2013 Endowment Market Value and Percentage Change in Endowment Market Value from FY 2008 to FY 2013". 2013 NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments. National Association of College and University Business Officers. Retrieved September 16, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2010-07-09. 
  3. ^ Mary Ann Eaddy and Georgianna Graham (May 1975). "Converse Heights Historic District" (pdf). National Register of Historic Places - Nomination and Inventory. Retrieved 2014-07-01. 
  4. ^ "Converse College Historic District, Spartanburg County (Spartanburg)". National Register Properties in South Carolina. South Carolina Department of Archives and History. Retrieved 2014-07-01.  and accompanying map

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